FGFJ Update (December 2018): Indonesia press tour & other updates from Japan

December 19. 2018

Report: Press Tour to Indonesia

The Friends of the Global Fund, Japan (FGFJ) conducted a press tour to Indonesia on November 25-30 that brought four journalists from major Japanese newspapers to two cities in Indonesia for site visits of the Global Fund supported activities. Since the participants had not previously covered topics related to global health, the FGFJ held two pre-trip briefings to provide background information on the Global Fund’s investments in Indonesia and the current status of the fight against the three diseases. Ambassador Masahiko Kiya, the Japanese government’s newly appointed representative on the Global Fund’s board also joined the trip as a special guest to learn firsthand the impact of the Global Fund.

The press tour involved a range of meetings that gave participants an overview of the impact of Global Fund supported programs in the country’s fight against HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, while also allowing them to have firsthand interaction with beneficiaries of these programs. After India, Indonesia has the world’s second largest number of new tuberculosis cases. On a visit to Persahabatan Hospital in Jakarta, one of 139 hospitals offering drug resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) treatment in Indonesia, the journalists spoke with DR-TB patients and learned how Global Fund support is used to purchase medicine and diagnostic devices and also to support capacity building efforts.

They also visited a mobile clinic supported by the Global Fund, which provides HIV and STD tests, as well as private counseling and referral services. As anti-LGBT sentiment grows stronger in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, mobile clinics have become operated by community health clinics and NGOs are increasingly providing a safe environment for vulnerable populations to access health services. The journalists also were able to interview transgender women and sex workers to understand the discrimination and difficulties they face.

The delegation also traveled to the Pesawaran regency of Lampung Province to see a unique malaria program. In this area, abandoned shrimp and fishing farming ponds are turning into breeding sites for mosquitoes. Since many Japanese are not familiar with the measures needed to deal with malaria, it was an eye-opening experience for the jorunalists to see how bednets are being used and what is being done with larvicide and indoor residual spraying.
On their final day, the group interviewed Indonesia’s Health Minister Nila F. Moeloek, who spoke about Indonesia’s national health insurance program. This was launched in 2014 and aims to provide 100% coverage for the entire population by 2019. However, she explained, the far flung geography of the Indonesia archipelago, the country’s large population, and low educational levels have emerged as three main challenges to achieving universal health coverage (UHC). Minister Moeloek expressed a strong desire to collaborate with Japan, which is seen as a world leader on UHC, in expanding its program.

Other developments:

– FGFJ staff attended the Global Fund’s 40th Board Meeting in Geneva. Japan’s new board member Ambassador Masahiko Kiya made his debut at that meeting, speaking about the Japanese government’s commitment to fighting the three diseases.
– The FGFJ has strengthened its Diet Task Force and Advisory Board, the two major platforms to sustain multi-sectoral engagement with the Global Fund, by welcoming three new members to the groups including a legislator Noriko Furuya.
– In time for World AIDS Day, the FGFJ published a new issue of its policy newsletter, Global Topics, featuring HIV and domestic financing.
– The FGFJ translated the Africa Scorecard on Domestic Financing for Health, 2018 into Japanese and disseminated the report widely among governmental and nongovernmental stakeholders.